Children depend on their parents for all their needs, including their emotional and psychological needs. A good parent-child relationship is crucial for their personal development, and it is also vital for forming their permanent psychological setup as they grow up. We are supposed to provide them the basis on which they develop all future relationships.
To help parents form a better and stronger relationship with their children, we consulted experts in the subject matter, including renowned psychologists, for the best tips;
Involve Yourself In Their Interests
“You can improve and strengthen your relationship with your kids in a few ways. One way is to involve yourself in their interests and curiosities. Play with them at their kid level, making goofy sounds or making storylines up as you go. Show them you care about their interest in dinosaurs or nature. Encourage them to do what they need to pursue their passions, such as reading a book together or experimenting/playing outdoors together. Any chance you get to spend quality time with them to make them happy, do it.”
Donna T. Novak, Licensed Psychologist, specializing in anxiety therapy, SimiPsychologicalGroup.com
Pay Attention To Them
“The best way to improve your relationship with your kids is to always pay attention to them when they are talking. If you make sure to contact them and listen attentively then they will trust you with everything. They will also not hesitate to tell you anything and will be honest with you. Your kids will also try to understand your point of view if they feel that you are also trying to understand them.”
Jacob Hubbard, Editor at TheGoodyPet
“I don’t have a great relationship with my parents, so I really try my best with my kid as I don’t want her to be cold and distant with me someday.” says Julie Ann Ensomo, “So here’s what I’ve done so far in improving my relationship with her:
Be Comfortable With Saying Sorry
“I always apologize if I’m in the wrong, so as to break barriers, show accountability and show my kid that parents make mistakes too.” (Julie Ann Ensomo)
Say YES More
“I choose my battles wisely and I only say NO to something she likes or would like to do if it’s dangerous and/or if it leads to unhealthy habits and behaviors in the long run.” (Julie Ann Ensomo)
More Play, Less Chores
“I always spend more time playing with my kid than doing the chores. So she’ll have great memories of us playing and having fun together.” (Julie Ann Ensomo)
Listen and Ask Questions
“I make sure to listen to her properly and continue on with the conversation, even if the subject is silly and mundane. As I want her to feel that she’s important to me and what she’s saying matters.”
Julie Ann Ensomo, Adaptable Mama
Some Practical Key Points to Implement
- Always be curious and open enough to look within and become more self-aware.
- Be kind and nice to your child(ren).
- Do not strive for perfection. Be “good enough.”
- Don’t get caught in power struggles.
- Never engage in negotiations, bargaining, or deal-making.
- Balance nurturing, setting limits and holding boundaries.
- Listen to your child(ren). Interpret both verbal and non-verbal cues.
- Encourage healthy expressions of anger.
- Nurture and praise your child’s incremental steps toward separation.
- Encourage your child’s unique and individual ideas, thoughts, and opinions.
- Do ‘special time’ with your kids every day.
- Shield your children from hearing Mom and Dad fight. Restrain the impulse and either find a private place or wait until after the kids are asleep.
- As questions of others if you don’t know what to do.
- Have a weekly date night and daily talk time with your spouse/partner. The foundation of your family is built upon the bricks and mortar of your marital relationship.
- Build self-esteem by using words that support and motivate with empathic attunement rather than criticize.
- Equip your child with coping skills to deal with disappointments. We cannot protect or prevent life’s disappointments. The best we can do is equip our children with coping skills to deal with inevitable letdowns.”
Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author; The Self-Aware Parent. Dr. Fran Regular Expert Child Psychologist on The Doctors, CBS TV, and co-star on SEX BOX, WE tv.
“Communication is such an important part and key component of any relationship. However, it is huge in the relationship between parent and child. Setting aside time for you and your child to talk, no matter what it’s about, can help foster a welcoming and open environment. Allowing your child to talk about their day and what is going on with their friends- good or bad, will increase the likelihood of your child being comfortable coming to you when they really need it.
“Communication doesn’t need to just be verbalized. You can communicate with your child without speaking. If your child is having a difficult day, ask them if they want you to help problem-solve or if they want you to just listen. Sometimes, we all just need to vent to someone without having the person give their opinion or try to fix the issue.
“Initiate those uncomfortable conversations. You know- the puberty and sex talks. The drug and alcohol talk. All the stuff that most of us felt uncomfortable talking to our parents about. Bring up those conversations to model that these topics don’t need to be off-limits and that you are open to any questions or concerns your child has. Wouldn’t you rather have them ask you so you can provide an appropriate answer (or find someone who can) than have them go to the internet or their friends and get possibly inaccurate information?
“Get rid of the devices while you are talking. It’s rude to be glancing at your phone while you are having a conversation with another person. Show your child that you value this time with them, you value talking to them, and let them know that they have your full attention.”
Dr. Nicole (Nikki) Lacherza-Drew, Psy.D. is a Licensed Psychologist in NJ and owner of Vici Psychological Care, LLC.